Railroad company pays fine for spill

Local News

SIDNEY, Ill. (WCIA) — The bill is in for how much a railroad company will be fined after a fuel spill.

A Union Pacific train leaked 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel near town three years ago. It will cost the company nearly $100,000.

The fire chief says some plants died from the spill, but overall, there wasn’t much long-term damage and what did happen was manageable. It was a lot of work for crews cleaning up the spill though. Three years ago, the village had a mess on its hands.

“We got a call for diesel fuel in the water, in the stream coming through town.” It would then turn into finding a way to contain 2,000 gallons of fuel from contaminating the Salt Fork River. “

We traced it back to railroad tracks, about a mile south of town and found out there had been a train there, had leaked fuel, but it had left. There was a film on the top of the water, the shine and glistening of the diesel fuel on top of the water.”

Booms were placed to stop the spread, but for the last few years, it’s still been on the minds of village leaders. “It was monitored for the next six-to-eight months after that, by the EPA and the booms were removed about a year after the spill.”

After the spill, the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit. When it was filed, the mayor said, “I wasn’t impressed with the initial start of the clean up. It didn’t seem like they had much of a crew.”

The ruling is in and Union Pacific will have to pay up. An answer the mayor has been hoping for. He originally said he never felt the situation was handled correctly.

“I felt like there should have been a bigger crew here getting it done. If it would have happened in downtown Champaign, they would have had a full crew there, but since we’re a small town, I think they just thought they could get by with it.”

The money will not go to the village of Sidney. The fine cost will go to the federal general fund. The cost of the flat fine is $70,000, then another $18,000 is owed for the EPA clean up cost. 

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